Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Following the Devil

The "Conservative Episcopalians" and other Gaffe-Conned Anglicans who stand firm in quicksand, have devised a way to follow the Devil, that is, a plan to to let him lead the way. The method is very simple. In order to recognize an issue as "communion breaking" they choose a heresy that they don't like, which is always going to be the latest one inasmuch as they have put up with all of the previous ones. Right now, in the international Psycho-Ward called the Anglican Communion, that heresy is acceptance of same-sex unions on all levels. To be a good follower of Satan, you dig in your heels and "stand firm" only now. In this way, you concede all the ground he has taken heretofore, which gives aid and comfort to the enemy, and leads to the destruction of souls.

Lest anyone accuse me of caricaturing the "Conservative Episcopalians" and their kind in my 2004 article, The Gay Divorcé, they may see for themselves the convoluted reasoning of one of the chief spokesman of that party, in the third part of his 2006 series, Has the Episcopal Church been “Falsely Accused” Part III. Matt Kennedy, an Episcopal priest married to another Episcopal "priest" (just like the confusing and confused Ephraim Radner), actually proved the accuracy of my analysis. The problem is, to this day he no doubt continues to think that his position was clever. Kennedy wrote:

In yesterday’s article I argued that that the “accusations” of heresy and apostasy against the Episcopal Church do not rest on the presence and/or influence of John Shelby Spong or Dr. Marcus Borg, but on the historical fact of the election, consent and consecration of V. Gene Robinson to the office of bishop in the state of New Hampshire. By this official legislative and sacramental act, the Episcopal Church crossed the boundary between right and false doctrine, orthodoxy and heresy. The transgression was confirmed, officially, at GC2006.

He follows with more of the same bizarre reasoning:

The case against the Episcopal Church is not that there are influential false teachers in the church and therefore the Church is heretical. Nor is it that “hundreds or thousands” of parishioners hold beliefs consistent with the heretical teachings espoused by the false teachers above and therefore the Church is heretical.


The Church is in error because the election, consent, and consecration of V. Gene Robinson officially moved the Episcopal Church beyond the limits of orthodoxy.

The orthodox emphasis on the influence of Spong, Dr. Borg, +Pike, +Righter, et al ... is not intended to “prove heresy” but to explain the root origins and causes of the heretical acts of 2003.

In other words the assertion is that the Episcopal Church officially stepped away from orthodoxy and into heresy in 2003 because the false teachers and errors above, over the course of thirty years, significanly influenced the collective body of the Episcopal Church and played a major, if not definitive, role in the decision to give consent to the election in New Hampshire.

He concludes:

The point...is that the “embrace” occurred in 2003, the seduction leading up to the embrace was long, drawn out, and, in fact, did and does include alien and pagan forms of religion.

This reminds me of the meeting that I described in my own article, published over two years before Kennedy decided to prove me right.

My article included this:

Last August (2003) the Episcopal Church’s General Convention approved the election of V. Gene Robinson to be the bishop of New Hampshire. Many protests have been made, meetings held, resolutions passed, and stands taken by conservative Episcopalians and other Anglicans because of this man’s open and unrepentant life of homosexual sin. In protesting [Robinson's] elevation to the episcopate on these grounds alone, many conservatives have only advanced the agenda of his supporters, and have shown that their understanding of the issue is little better than that of the liberal wing of the Episcopal Church.

I saw this at a meeting held by and for Episcopalians who were trying to deal with the practical effects of this latest crisis. These well-meaning and very sincere people were concerned only about his homosexuality. It is for them the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the point of no return. What I heard that night has been said over and over again: “We cannot allow the consecration of an openly ‘gay’ man to the office of bishop.”

When I took the floor during that meeting, I argued that a spokesman for the AAC (American Anglican Council), who had just addressed that same meeting, was wrong. He had said that what the Episcopalians needed to do was to get their church back to where it was just before the vote to elevate Robinson. I asked them what they would gain if their "church" went from being the "church" that had done the deed, to being the "church" that was about to do the deed.

In a comment a while back, a defender of Kennedy insisted that the issue of contention on Stand Firm was not only the homosexualist heresy, but "the authority of scripture." It seems that this commenter had either not read Kennedy's 2006 blog entry, or had forgotten it. What Matt Kennedy wrote perfectly summarizes the position of the "conservatives" who pretend to stand firm, all the while being blown about by every wind of doctrine even if tossed a little slower or not quite as far as other heretics. Perhaps they did not get carried all the way to OZ; nonetheless, they are not in Kansas anymore.

What does it take to be in heresy? What is communion breaking? For the very polite, reasonable Canterbury Crowd, adopting an English temperament even if they are not English, it does not do to get excited and overreact. Putting up with all manner of abuses while maintaining a stiff upper lip, but remaining always polite, it can be all too easy to let things go by. Such people need a bit of help in realizing that right doctrine required a break in communion quite a long time ago. Faithfulness to the Gospel cannot live with these things.

It was necessary to break communion over women's "ordination" because the validity of priestly and episcopal sacraments was done away.

It was necessary to break communion because this put souls in peril, since two of these sacraments are "generally necessary to salvation."

It was necessary to break communion when no clear stand could be taken on moral issues, such as abortion, etc.

We could cite many things, but essentially this is the true dividing line: It was necessary to break communion when orthodoxy became merely one acceptable option among others. The Church either functions as the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15), or it loses its very nature, and with it the calling of God. Its ministry is gone, even though its earthly organization remains intact.

We are the ones who, by the grace of God, try to stand firm. Our principles are eternal and defined by the unchanging standard of Heaven. We must never merely react to the latest turn the Devil has taken on a twisted path, and that is possible only if we have not been following him at all.


Anonymous said...

Setting a date when PECUSA became heretical is probably a futile activity. But I would propose the year 1899. That was the year when Charles Augustus Briggs, deposed for heresy in the Presbyterian Church, was received and ordained in the Episcopal Church. The issue the Presbyterians had with him was his denial of Biblical inerrancy. But that did not seem to bother the Diocese of New York. Although the attack on Sacred Scripture in the Anglican Churches was already up and running, the ordination of Briggs seems symbolic to me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this posting establishes new lows in the trashing of Stand Firm and Matt Kennedy. You can no longer even tolerate them as fellow Christians, but now condemn them to the darkness, damned as followers of the Devil. And not only followers, but co-conspirators in devising his Devlish plots. This sort of shrill accusation reveals attitudes that make the Continuum very unappealing...

poetreader said...


I was strongly tempted to reject publication on this one, but I did allow it to appear.

Fr. Hart most certainly spoke very strongly in his article, but he neither said not implied any of the things you so angrily accuse him of. I suggest that you listen to the content of his posting. You appear not to have done so.

He presented a cogent and reasoned discussion of ways in which he (and I) believe that certain fellow-Christians have been deceived over time by the machinations of outright enemies of the faith (ultimately, yes, the machinations of Satan). Instead of reacting with anger to the fact that he does not agree with the positions of "Stand Firm" and considers them dangerous, examine the premises themselves. Answer them here, if you can. Show us, if you can, that there is untruth in Father's premise that there is little difference between the church about to ordain Robinson and the church that has just done it. Instead of calling us names, speak to the issues we so cravenly have brought up and show us our error. If our premises are anywhere near right, every word he spoke is justified. If not, not.

I find it extremely sad to see Christian brethren so willing to accept so much that is the essential foundation of the rank heresies that have seized ECUSA, a Church once beautiful, but a church many of us found it necessary to leave decades ago. I support Fr. Hart's words, not in anger, but in a deep and anguished sorrow. It is my belief that you have unconsciously allowed Satan to push you so close to the edge that you are in danger of teetering the wrong way to destruction. There are a lot of wonderfully good people in similar straits, but I worry that they are standing firmly on sinking sands and, on that basis, cannot but ultimately fail.


Canon Tallis said...


Just how much heresy, how much ruthless denial of Biblical doctrine is a Christian supposed to tolerate before you call a shovel a shovel? Just how much of the dogma found in the New Testament and the Old, how much of that which has been believed, "everywhere, always and by all" do they have to deny before you do as the New Testament tells us all to do? Or have you simply not read that part of the New Testament before?
This is not low on Father Hart's part. Rather it is treating them as if they are indeed functionally literate and fully capable of reading and understanding what St Paul and the other apostles wrote Just who would you have us disrespect: St Paul and his fellow apostles, their successor bishops and the Catholic fathers or those who for the last thirty plus years have been prostituting the faith once delivered to the saints?

I will love and pray for the conversion and salvation of those at "Stand Firm," but I am required by my ordination vows to know what Jesus and the Church have taught and to defend it against all comers. I do that here by standing with Father Hart and the saints.

Anonymous said...

I wish poetreader had rejected the trollish comment of Nevin. It is easy to appear "orthodox" when one has VGR to demonize. But making the case against one-issue types is much more difficult. At the risk of sounding "shrill," it is my considered opinion that Matt Kennedy and his ilk will do far greater harm
to the Body of Christ than VGR and his crowd. St Paul was a trifle "shrill" when he warned us of "false brethren crept in unawares," a good description of the SFIF gang. Pretending to be orthodox but supporting an invalid priesthood which dispenses false sacraments, they destroy souls.
VGR et al. admit to being revisionists. They do less harm than the wolves in sheeps' clothing at SF.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells,

Maybe then (as now) so many Presbyterians were defecting to Anglicansim that PECUSA didn't think to ask Briggs' why?

poetreader said...

Fr. Wells, thank you.

It's posts like yours and that of Canon Tallis that I hoped would result from allowing that comment to be seen. While I honor the commitment to such Gospel as they understand on the part of the Stand Fast crowd and similar others, I'm always dismayed as to how much of the liberal agenda they have absorbed without even being aware of it. It's as if the proverbial frog in the gradually heating water were to become angry with those who caution it against remaining to be boiled. If the frog hasn't stayed long enough to be killed, and escapes, its rescue may have occurred after enough damage has been done to require serious medical intervention. I believe the current situation is analogous to that.


Anonymous said...

I suppose one could STAND FIRM in the 815 jurisdiction ON THE CLASSIC ANGLICAN FORMULARIES. At least I could respect that.

But, as is, most the so-called orthodox "remainers" have already given up the authentic Ordinal and traded in their Books of Common Prayers for Common Books of Prayer.

So, yes, "they stand firm in quick sand," indeed.

Anonymous said...

Brian G,
While I don't have anything but anecdotal evidence to go on, my impression is that not too many Presbyterians migrate toward Anglicanism.

C. A. Briggs, a truly great OT scholar and Hebraist--being the "Briggs" of the Brown, Driver & Briggs Hebrew lexicon--was sacked by the Presbyterians for introducing negative and anti-supernaturalistic higher criticism into his classes at Union Seminary NYC. They saw that he had attacked "the vitals of religion" and dealt with him properly.

Briggs found the Episcopal Church attractive because of its long tradition of latitudinarianism.
His negative attitude toward the Bible had already established a beach-head among us in the collection of essays "Lux Mundi", published 1889--within the same timeframe as Briggs's trial.

According to OxDictChrCh:

"Its purpose (i. e., the purpose of Lux Mundi) was 'to put the Catholic faith into its right relation to modern intellectual and moral problems.' At the time interest in the book was directed especially to a few pages in [Bp Charles] Gore's own essay on 'The Holy Spirit and Inspiration' in which by accepting in principle the new critical views of the OT, he definitely broke with the conservaive position of E. B. Pusey and the Tractarians. For this reason the book caused grave distress to many of the older school of High Churchmen."

So Briggs found himself a comfortable home. To his credit, he became much more conservative in his later years. But the damage which he and Lux Mundi symbolized was irreparable, and the rest is history. For this reason I was flabbergasted to read a recent comment of Matt Kennedy that TEC was still orthodox until 2003.

Anonymous said...

This commentary completely mischaracterizes both the content and intent of a two year old piece by Matt Kennedy. It implies that Matt Kennedy accepts the heresies of Spong and others in TEC. It implies that Kennedy is ok with abortion and other moral deviancies. Anyone with even a casual knowledge of Matt Kennedy knows this is not true. The article was not arguing that everything was fine and hunky dory in TEC until Robinson. All he was saying was that in his mind the action of the entire church, as a church- not as individuals, in making Robinson a bishop was what officially made TEC heretical. Others, such as LKW, feel that a single unfaithful bishop taints the entire church. Again, this entire piece is an attempt to paint Kennedy as someone who is accepting of Spong/abortion and did nothing in opposition. That is a dreadful distortion of Matt Kennedy's piece. That those here at the Continuum feel Matt Kennedy and Stand Firm represent non-Christian Devil-followers who need "conversion" like Wiccans speaks volumes to me.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Nevin wrote:

It implies that Matt Kennedy accepts the heresies of Spong and others in TEC.

No, it states the fact that he can tolerate them. Even so, it is not to his credit that he tolerated them simply because he was able to do so under protest.

All he was saying was that in his mind the action of the entire church, as a church- not as individuals, in making Robinson a bishop was what officially made TEC heretical.

Of course, and that point is very clear from the portions I quoted. However, it is that very point that is intellectually, theologically and spiritually weak.

That those here at the Continuum feel Matt Kennedy and Stand Firm represent non-Christian Devil-followers who need "conversion" like Wiccans speaks volumes to me.

Now it is Nevin who mis-characterizes. I described how reactions to heresy at only a late stage, or reaction only to the latest development of heresy, is allowing the Devil to lead the way, or blaze the trail. The SFIF position is the opposite of a truly principled one, even if they are sincere. It lacks intellectual, theological and spiritual rigor.

John Dixon said...

I think it unfair to call Nevin “trollish” at least he is willing to answer.

Mr. Kennedy is unwilling if not afraid. While I have looked at stand firm’s site there is little of interest there to hold attention- mostly political commentary and very little in the way of any real theology addressing the problems facing them. Mr. Kennedy being a man who cuts off intellectual discourse by banning anyone able to demonstrate his theological shortcomings is hardly a man worth defending.

Nevin- let me ask you this since you seem to feel it is a virtue for the Kennedys to tolerate heresy and be intolerant of free intellectual discourse: The Pastoral Epistles are clear as to who qualifies as a leader in the Church and reinforces the norm for headship found in the OT. If a man and his wife are both “priests’ and live under the same roof which one is following the spirit and clear instruction of the Canon ? And if only one meets this test which one, and who or what is the other following? And if neither one meets the test what then?

Depending on your answer how would we understand the opinions or witness put forth by either Kennedy?

poetreader said...

Hmmmm. let me see now . . .

The Episcopal Church refuses to condemn James Pike for clear heresy. It refuses to condemn the heresies of Bp. Spong. It refuses to endorse the authority of the Creeds in General Convention and rewites Scripture to claim that Jesus is 'A Way' rather than 'THE Way'. It abandons Apostolic order by ordaining women, and does so much more of like import, all by official action, but it did not become a heretical body until it ordained one sinful bishop whose sin has been an ongoing problem for the Church for centuries. Is that the claim being made by Stand Firm and company? When I left ECUSA in 1977 for a body that did not even claim the Catholic Tradition, it was, in my considered opinion, a step upward because ECUSA had already abandoned that Tradition, even as they falsely claimed to hold it.

Neven, you are accusing us of saying that you folk are not Christian. That demonstartes that you have not read what was said, or at least have not comprehended it. What we are saying is that you've stayed where the contamination is for too long and have been hurt by it. A sick man who does not believe he is sick will end up spreading sickness, even though that be far from his desire. Criticize us, if you must for those positions where we differ from you. An intelligent conversation is much to be desired. But please do so on the basis of what we have said, instead of putting words in our mouths, Thank you.


John Dixon said...

Ed ,
In your list do not forget B001 at GC 03...
83 Bishops voted twice not to affirm the Creeds and other Documents of the Church. I wonder if in his explanation Mr. Kennedy considered this event following the 'consecration" of VGR.

The other question is the insistent use of the heretical 79 BCP and as often the heretical 82 Hymnal with a tune authored by a muslim terrorist in it.

Anonymous said...

"the heretical 82 Hymnal with a tune authored by a muslim terrorist in it"

Really? What've I been missing out on?

Of course, a tune is just a tune--it's the words I'm more likely to worry about.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I'd like to know too. When it comes to the '82, nothing would surprise me. Back in my TEC days (before I saw the light) when I was a church organist, and the '82 hymnal was new, the rector said that someday he would want to replace our '40hymnals with the new one. Without thinking at all, I heard myself answer, "oh God no!"

Of course, to be politically correct and eschew sexism, they need to re-title it: The Hymnal-Hernia.

John Dixon said...

The hymn is #08 "Morning has Broken" well ok "re-popularized" by Yusuf Islam- AKA Cat Stevens.
He recorded it in 71.
Alas so did Rick Wakeman of Yes- at least Rick is not a muslim; well he is a Brit... at least not yet...

Anonymous said...

John writes:
"I think it unfair to call Nevin “trollish” at least he is willing to answer."

Perhaps I am not sufficiently hip to use the word "trollish" properly. I thought it meant (in blogese) the practice of invading discussions only for the purpose of being disruptive and throwing the discussion off-track.

John, you seem to think it means failure to reply to responding comments.

I recall when you challenged me for stating that TAC has 700K adherents and I proved you in error by cutting and pasting Fr Steward's claims on VOL. You never responded. Does that make you a troll too?


Anonymous said...

I didn't make my point well before. The tune does matter, but not the authorship thereof. A tune has no doctrinal content, but it is perfectly capable of being good or bad or unsingable or downright tacky, and these things are important.

Canon Tallis said...

I realize that Mr Kennedy is an "evangelical" which to my mind always creates a supposition of a general weakness in the theology of the sacraments. I raise the issue because it was the Episcopal Church's formal acceptance of WO which, I think, was for most of us the moment it became formally heretical. That was quickly followed by the adoption of the '79book which is neither a liturgy nor a Book of Common Prayer although so-called.

Among its other problems, Women's ordination was more an acceptance of lesbian ordination that anything else. And as anyone who has watched the rise of homosexual ism in our society should know, when it comes to homosexuality's, the lesbian is more deadly than the male. I have often wondered why TEC found it so much easier to accept open lesbians in holy orders than it did a male. I just don't know who should feel the more insulted.

But the core of the problem for Anglicanism as a whole - and one that still infects the Continuum as well - is the spirit of disobedience which rose out of the Reformation as a whole. The Church formally requires vows of obedience to its "doctrine, discipline and worship" but as we all should know, as much as Elizabeth I attempted to make sure that those vows were understood and kept, "those who returned from Geneva" (to quote Bishop Cosin) did there best to evade them and bless the evasions of others. This led to the civil war and Cromwell's interregnum in which an attempt was made to abolish the Church and outlaw the Book of Common Prayer. The restoration of the monarchy and the church in 1660was only partial and the essential rubrics of 1662 which represented the bishops hopes for a rull eventual restoration of the Church have never achieved full intellectual and moral acceptance and obedience. High church or low church, pseudo-papist or pseudo-prot, we have all treated the BCP as a set of disconnected services among which we could pick and choose rather than as truly Common Prayer and a liturgy which was intended to be obeyed "everywhere, always and by all." The rule has been that there is no rule, because if it is enforced against him, then it would be capable of being enforced against me. Consequently it is no wonder that we had parishes that were lower than a Cistercian monastery as well as those who sought to out papist the basilica of St Peter's itself. What we did not have and do not have is a church, clergy or laity who understand the real need of Catholic obedience and Apostolic order.

I have had my run ins with the folks at Stand Feebly and the major part of their problem is that they are incapable of accepting of Holy Scripture when it says plainly something on which they have already made up their mind. I think they would truly like to be "orthodox" just as Thomas Oden, the Methodist theologian, but they have been so formed by the spirit of the times that the Holy Spirit seems unable to breach their defences.

I hope that I will be forgiven for being a little less concerned about them and their problems than about us. We in the Continuum at least recognized the formal commission of heresy by TEC when it happened, but we have not been able to get our own act together, to get the beam out of our own eye. Too many of us are still "playing church" rather than expending our full energies towards being the Church that God has called us to be. We dabble at the edges when what we need to do is jump into the deep end. You would think that we had reason to be afraid of God instead of "the world, the flesh and the devil." We certainly do not treat each other with the love and respect which more plainly than anything else would mark our continuity with the Church of the apostles and martyrs.

It would be great fun to tell Greg, Matt and Sarah how to get their house in order, but until we have our own completely ready for the coming of the bridegroom we need to ask ourselves do we have the time and should we expend the effort.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It would be great fun to tell Greg, Matt and Sarah how to get their house in order, but until we have our own completely ready for the coming of the bridegroom we need to ask ourselves do we have the time and should we expend the effort.

The purpose of writing about these matters is not to scold anybody out there who thinks like the SFIF folks. It is, rather, to keep our own convictions and priorities clear, so that we remind ourselves and each other of our principles. With GAFCON and so forth, it is easy to feel isolated and perhaps tempted to adjust our principles. Writing for the Christian Challenge I have to look closely at the whole Anglican scene, and so these things are squarely placed in front of my eyes.

The truth is, no matter where you go, you find problems, and that was true when St. Paul was writing to churches. It was true when the Fathers were writing. The miracle of the Church is that God works through us at all, even more so, that he dwells among us as his habitation through the Spirit.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


"Morning has broken" uses an old Celtic folk melody, author unknown. The words were written by a woman who lived before WWI. In fact, I like the song itself, and play my own arrangement based on Wakeman's (Rick Wakeman, last I heard, had become a devout Christian and was involved with getting Bibles to difficult places).

If you want to see the problems of the '82 hymnal it is in rewritten words that destroy theology and beauty in the old hymns. A lot of it is that "inclusive language" garbage, based on the lie that "exclusive language" ever existed in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"I have often wondered why TEC found it so much easier to accept open lesbians in holy orders than it did a male."

Perhaps because, like Queen Victoria, the TEC didn't really believe that they, or at least their peculiar intimate activities, existed.

"But the core of the problem for Anglicanism as a whole - and one that still infects the Continuum as well - is the spirit of disobedience which rose out of the Reformation as a whole."

Yes, indeed.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"...the spirit of disobedience which rose out of the Reformation as a whole."

I cannot accept this statement. People who felt compelled by conscience to proclaim the Gospel saw a corrupt Church in need of reformation. Some of the solutions that were put forth were no real solution at all. But, the idea was to be obedient to Christ and his Gospel.

John Dixon said...


You prove nothing but yopur own venomous nature.

As one who "lies down with dogs " I know a good kick when i see one.

As to your absurd '700k' claim- prove it.

I have google searched and asked and checked and nobody knows what you are talking about. The official TAC site claims 400k on their home page that alone is sufficient to put your obsession to rest for normal people. Perhaps we should consider that if one priest somewhere goes overboard and misstates a fact we can take that principle to understand your stand on the OTC.

Anonymous said...

John: The claim of 700K adherents is indeed absurd, and that is why, in my inimitably venomous manner I exposed it. I proved you wrong by cutting and pasting from VOL. D.Virtue has continued to use the 700K. So please direct your own venom to the source of this exaggeration, not to the humble messenger who exposed it. For the record, I believe that 400K is equally inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

John, I don't know what to make of your claim to have done google searches. This claim, as I have already shown, is easy to find.
The most recent D Virtue weekly summary contains the following:

"AS the Episcopal Church unravels with more fleeing parishes and dioceses, Continuing churches that started to flee TEC in 1977, at the time of the St. Louis Convention, are looking and sounding a little more cocky with some saying "see we told you so" statements on a number of blogs. The biggest and fastest growing of the Anglo-Catholic groups is the Traditional Anglican Communion, headed up by Australian-born Archbishop John Hepworth. He was briefly in Philadelphia and agreed to an extensive interview about his church's proposed union with the Roman Catholic Church. What he wants for his 700,000 followers is full sacramental and organic union. You can read the interview here or in today's digest."

David is obviously relying on Fr Steward's claim of 700K, a claim he has made more than once on VOL. No one of your camp bothered to offer a correction.

You can make ad hominem attacks all you wish, but it's your credibility at stake, not anyone else's. Cheers!

John Dixon said...

O man! the great Anglo Catholic Lawrence K Wells relies on D.V. for information on the Continuum!

Since when does David Virtue's opinion, an evangelical EPISCOPALIAN, who supports WO and who obtains much of his information off of blogs like Dick Kim's without attribution hold much weight in the Continuum and how does such second hand information from one article trump what the TAC states PUBLICLY on it's OWN WEBSITE or the fact that Rome sees the 400-500k as verifiable? "David is obviously relying on Fr Steward's comment"? Really did you call Virtue and ask or is this just a pet assumption?

Rome may be a lot of things but they do have quite an institution and they do know how to bean count. While I would and do trust your opinion on theology before those of Roman controversialists I think most reasonable people will attribute the ability to accurately verify numbers to Rome rather than to you. Last I looked the name of the TAC's Archbishop is Hepworth and not Steward and unless you can demonstrate Hepworth made or authorized any comment you are simply rumor mongering. I thought priests were not supposed to murmur.

Funny how playing in the sand on both sides of the net at Deerfield Beach makes you an expert on who the "dogs" are. Your problem and that of the ACC is that is post's like yours that make your jurisdiction the last possible destination for many apparently including yourself. ACA then APA then ACC is that right?

As to ad hominem attacks, your comment characterizing an entire jurisdiction as "dogs" is about as "ad hominem" as I have seen permitted here.

Cheers? No offense Father, but cheerfulness does not appear to be your strong suit.

poetreader said...


I decided to publish this comment, though it comes awfully close to the line of personal attack. Fr. Wells is as responsible a thinker and analyzer as anyone here. I often disagree with him, sometimes substantially, but he is worthy of the respect of any other worthy opponent in debate. I have no problem with strong and forceful disagreement. That's what a combox is for. But please, please, please moderate your attacks upon the persons and qualifications of others.


John Dixon said...

I wonder why you did not express a similar concern towards LKW for his many fishing expeditions here looking to provoke an answer such as mine form anyone he can- many times over. Perhaps the problem is lopsided comment review.
Surely LKW's false assertions regarding the TAC
ought to raise your eyebrow.

Some LKWisms:
" but it's your credibility at stake, not anyone else's"

"I also wish they would just shut up and go away."

"It's not the rudeness I object to. After all, I have been rude on occasion myself. It's their habit of being rude in such a dull manner. Simply saying the same thing over and over is hardly a convincing argument, even from Tiber-swimmers. I same stand up to a bully, but I cannot tolerate a bore".

"And also Bp Campese has contributed greatly to growth in APA, ACC, and APCK."

"When you lie down with dogs [ACA/TAC}..."

Ed are you a dog? Did you like that one? You let it through.

If your going to complain you ought try to be consistent. In his own words he is "rude".

He is worthy only of the respect he has shown others here and elsewhere and if you bothered to look up his comments by way of your blog records you would see your inconsistency here.

Anonymous said...

No, it states the fact that he can tolerate them. Even so, it is not to his credit that he tolerated them simply because he was able to do so under protest.

Well, I disagree. I think it is to his credit that he was one of the leading voices in opposition to the direction of TEC. And he left TEC almost a year ago. Why bring this up now? It's like you can't be happy he left TEC.

However, it is that very point that is intellectually, theologically and spiritually weak.

I guess you have a right to that opinion, but there are still a lot (ever dwindling I admit) of people in TEC that I wouldn't describe in such dismal terms. But I'm not sure it is so easy to decide exactly when a church becomes heretical. LKW has flippantly decided TEC became heretical in 1899. I guess that makes several generations of Episcopalians followers of the Devil and "intellectually, theologically and spiritually weak…”

Ultimately I was just upset to see this very unnecessary attack in the language employed. I will accept being wrong in accusing the Continuum of saying Matt Kennedy is not a Christian, but I think I was confused when the feature article claimed that the "Gafconites" have devised a way to follow the Devil and are good followers of Satan. LKW thinks the folks at Stand Firm are wolves in sheep’s clothing and worse than heretics. Canon Tallis prays for their conversion. This language seems quite judgmental. I've said it before and I'll say it again- in general I love this blog and continue to find much of value in it. Maybe I just need to avoid reading anything addressing the topic of Kennedy and Stand Firm as I know there is a lot of bad blood there.

Finally, watching this thread degenerate into a p***ing contest is perhaps instructive of the mindset that has allowed the "institutional fragmentation of the continuing church into countless tiny schismatic churches". God bless Canon Tallis for recognizing that.

John Dixon said...


You win the cigar.

I joined the CC five years ago and it is plainly evident that there will be no unity in the Continuum. As I said in an earlier post there is a reason God keeps a tribe in the wilderness for 40 years.

Perhaps after a lot of old bitter men go to their reward the Continuum will mature enough to have a common witness.

You GaffeConners may be Presbyterians but at least your all on the same side. I admire that.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...that has allowed the "institutional fragmentation of the continuing church into countless tiny schismatic churches...

The Continuing Church jurisdictions are listed to the right on the main page of this blog. Three of them are in accord to the point where I am about to report a story of an ACC bishop ordaining a deacon on behalf of the Archbishop of the UEC, at his request (just waiting for the details). Other than that, the TAC is looking more to be in some sort of relationship with Rome which makes it hard for me to tell whether they see unity in the CCs as a priority (a simple fact that I cannot help but observe), and the APA predates the Continuing Churches by almost a decade. The last of the ARSA (ARJA) dioceses is what remains of a jurisdiction that also predates the Continuing Church (etc.), but along with the APA has adopted the Affirmation of St. Louis. The alleged "countless" fragments consist of episcopus vagens and imitators who are merely doing what freedom of religion allows. Recent years have seen growth of unity among the Continuing jurisdictions, not growth of discord. The ACC-APCK-UEC accord cannot be called fragmentation.

Nevin, bad blood is not the issue, at least not with me. The issue is theological and spiritual. I regard the SFIF version of Christianity as a modern invention that has no real claim to anything substantial. It is based on having been so far from the center for so long, that anything less heinous than the most extreme examples of TEC error looks orthodox by comparison. And, that is the problem, comparative orthodoxy rather than simple orthodoxy.

I hope they will be horrified to have me say they are following the Devil by letting him lead the way. I hope they will be so horrified that it shocks them into reality.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Ed was not inconsistent. He did not reject your comment either, as he said. The 700,000 figure came ultimately from a TAC source, even though it was not ++Hepworth. Well, that happens. People let their excitement run away with them.

I have already explained (in the above comment) where Nevin's comment is wrong, so if you give him a cigar I can't agree with you either. Right now the main bodies that have the Chambers-Pagtakahn succession are more unified than ever.

After my conversation with the Archbishop of the TAC, I know that he is so oriented towards Rome that any effort to seek unity with the rest of the Continuing Churches is not his top priority. Unity for him means reunification with Rome, not with the ACC-APCK-UEC, even though in 2005 he was ready to join in and hand it all over to Archbishop Morse.

At this time I hope he will reconsider just how much unity in the Continuum is preferable.

John Dixon said...

Fr Hart,

At best the 700k comment came from an individual. And was repeated by an Episcopalian and then Fr Wells. And Fr Wells is purposed to provoke. You think that is worth a pass- it's your blog.

Albion has listed his journalistic credentials here and you are a fine journalist yourself. Since when does rumor or an assertion based on an unauthorized single source justify your agreement? The TAC website says 400k unless any of you has proof otherwise you ought to stop insisting the 700k is an official statistic. If you have something to the contrary please by all means do a story on it.

If every off hand comment by any clergy or layman is to become an official news release for their particular jurisdiction we are all in a lot of trouble and you folks need to start 'staffing up'.

LKW may be a lot of things, some positive, but one of those things is rumor mongering and a consistent desire to inflict insult. Intention is everything in Anglo Catholicism.

Well it's the ACC's credibility at stake.

Anonymous said...

Nevin observes:
"LKW has flippantly decided TEC became heretical in 1899."

No, Nevin, I was not being flippant.
Abandoning the view of Scripture which was universal in the Church from Patristic times (See JND Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines) was as serious a matter as embracing the Arian heresy.

Matt Kennedy claims to hold a high view of Scripture. His statement that TEC was orthodox until 2003 disproves this.

Anonymous said...

"John" writes:

"the fact that Rome sees the 400-500k as verifiable?"

TAC seems to use numbers in a very elastic way. The TAC website claims 400,000 adherents. "John" stretches this to "400-500K" So John seems to make 100,000 people appear out of nowhere. John writes further:

"Rome may be a lot of things but they do have quite an institution and they do know how to bean count."

John, Roman experts readily acknowledge that their membership figures are at best just estimates.
"All known baptized minus all known dead" is one common cliche.
With a huge membership, that's the best that can be done.

".... I think most reasonable people will attribute the ability to accurately verify numbers to Rome rather than to you."

So are you claiming that Rome has actually verified TAC's numbers?
In spite of your snide remark, I do not claim to have verified anything. I have only asked how TAC has arrived at "400,000 members on 6 continents," which some stretch to 700,000, and you stretch to 500,000. Some bean counting!

I note the claim 400,000 members on 6 continents implies 66,666.666 per continent. Now how many continents have that many TAC members? Inquiring minds wish to know.

poetreader said...

Let go. Fr. Wells my be overstating sometimes (which could be debated) and he may be a bit stronger in his wording than I'd prefer, but he is addressing issues and actions. You, on the other hand have developed a fixation of attacking one particular commenter. May I remind you that this is not a forum about Fr. Laurence Wells?, nor is it a forum about this mysterious John speaking from anonymity. Let it go. Ultimately it makes little difference whther LKW has said something than whether it is true. And one thing that is true is that statistics differed have indeed been wildly various, and that questionalbe estimates have indeed been used as "evoidence". Whoever does that ought to be shown to be doing that.

If you will return to discussing issues, even in ways some of us may dislike, and leave off personal attacks, you are welcome here. If not . . .


John Dixon said...


Funny remark considering the renewed attack and continued twisting by LKW.

Fr Wells I have claimed nothing, you like putting words in peoples mouths - helps you make your argument-it is you that make claims I have only pointed to the TAC claim on it's official website which if you noted is dated 2006. Not my claim not my burden to prove or disprove, that belongs to you and you have never gotten past your allegation.

Your insistence on that one man's alleged opinion represents official numbers is laughable.

Where is the journalistic standard of the '2nd source' to back up the claims?

Ed - I suppose you are giving LKW the same advise or do you have a double standard?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am going toask that we now return to the subject of the thread itself. Nevin's comments have been relevant, and I applaud that even though I find that I am debating those comments.

John wrote to me:
you are a fine journalist yourself

Don't start calling me names. What have I ever done to you?

Albion Land said...

Fr Hart has already said it in an uncustomarily diplomatic fashion; I will say it bluntly: I do not want to see anything further on this thread about the number of members the TAC might or might not have; the subject has been beaten to death. You are all forewarned.

Meanwhile, a comment to Ed: This blog is not a newspaper, though it does contain news. And commenters on threads published by myself and my co-hosts are not meant to be journalists. This is a place where anyone can have his say, as long as it is within the bounds of civility. If what he says turns out to make him a fool, that is his problem, not one for The Continuum.

Fathers Hart and Kirby, Ed Pacht and myself are always keen to ensure as much precision and factual correctness in what we post, but commenters have a much freer rein.

Anonymous said...

To return to the more edifying discussion of when TEC became heretical, I left TEC (PECUSA) in 1970 because of its refusal to discipline Bishop Pike and his blatant heresies. I suspect in fact that it had gone off the rails earlier, but this was what brought it home to me. I read St. John's words: "If anyone comes to you who does not bring this teaching, do not admit him to your house or give him any greeting, for he who greets him becomes his accomplice in his evil deeds" (II John 10-11). How could I receive Communion with those who tolerated this false teaching, if the Apostle says not even to greet them! That was it for me.

I'm puzzled that there is not more attention paid to TEC's intercommunion with the ELCA, not all of whose clergymen have episcopal ordination; and the ELCA has a sharing of ministry relationship with some Reformed churches, if I am not mistaken. That is a further departure from Apostolic Succession, although the women "priests" and "bishops" pretty well took care of that.

Finally, homosexuality is a sin, not a heresy. To break communion over a sin, after tolerating heresies of all sorts, is completely unbalanced. This brings all the protests into disrepute, since the "make-or-break" issue is not one of faith, but of morals. Of course, the ordination of a public homosexual is wrong, but it is not a heresy. There is plenty of heresy in TEC, but those who stayed in TEC have gradually swallowed it. But how sad that they finally have had enough over this issue, while ignoring the destruction of their ministry and the shredding of their faith and teaching.

Fr. S.J.

Anonymous said...

Father Matt Kennedy will plainly, and proudly, say that he is a Calvinist. There is no doubt that most of those leaving TEC at present are Protestant Anglicans. That is essentially a given. It is no secret that GAFCON, CCP, etc. are from the Protestant type of Anglicanism.

Since the days of the Elizabethan Settlement, Protestant and Catholic Anglicans have been at odds, and it has been a shaky, uneasy alliance.

The true Catholic Anglicans left ECUSA at the time of The Affirmation of St. Louis. The Protestants are leaving TEC (ECUSA) now, for different reasons.

Why must they condemn us, or we condemn them? To do so, shows a total lack of Christian charity. Christ would be ashamed.

We will not convince them to change to our beliefs, neither will they convince us to change to their beliefs.

It is pointless and tacky to throw rocks at each other. Why not just treat them with kindness and Christian charity, understand that they are from a different type of Anglicanism, and let us try to reach the young people of today for traditional, classic Anglicanism in its Catholic expression.

The Anicient-Future trends among youth, would make the Continuum very attractive to youth if we would only allow them to know we exist.

ACC Member

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. S.J>

Homosexual practice is a sin. Rewriting God's commandments in order to "bless" same-sex unions, and allow immorality to be practiced without church discipline, is a heresy.

ACC member:

Making a strong case is not uncharitable, especially if it is done for the pastoral reason of keeping the lines clear for our own people, and in hopes of getting some of the other people to rethink their position. I do not know that we cannot convince them.

Since the days of the Elizabethan Settlement, Protestant and Catholic Anglicans have been at odds, and it has been a shaky, uneasy alliance

Yes and no. Except for very extreme partisan elements, most Anglicans always considered themselves both Catholic and Reformed (not "Reformed" in the Calvinist sense). By the early 20th century, the ideal clergyman was described with the cliche, "not too high, not too low." Even the Anglican Evangelicals had confessors and considered themselves catholic- except, I say, among the sort of partisans that C.S.Lewis mentioned in The Screwtape Letters.

Albion Land said...

A correction to my note of 10.19 pm yesterday, in which I mistakenly directed myself to Ed Pacht. I had meant to address John.

My apologies, Ed.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart:

I find you to be a very knowledgable theologian and an excellent writer. I also sincerely believe you are well-intentioned.

That said, if you believe calling fellow Christians, who happen to be Protestant instead of Catholic,
"followers of the Devil" isn't uncharitable; I would truly challenge you to pray about that. I urge you to consider St. Benedict's teaching concerning hospitality to visitors and guests from outside of a Christian community; and the importance of hospitality and charity in converting souls to Christ.

The old saying "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar" definately apllies here. Your language will repulse Protestant Anglicans, not cause them to reconsider.

This sort of dialog gives the Continuum a bad reputation. It makes us appear to be a cult, which we are not. One of the chief indicators of a cult is a religious group that says: "We are right and everyone else is wrong."
If I had read this blog before I joined the ACC, it would have scared me off and I would never have joined the ACC.

This attitude of superiority, and that "we are right and everyone else is wrong" probably scares many people away from the Continuum.

ACC Member

Albion Land said...

Dear ACC Member,

As owner of this blog, I am responding to your latest comment, which was directed to Fr Wells. I would like to try to make a number of points.

First of all, The Continuum, is not in any way, shape or form, an organ of the Anglican Catholic Church. I created it when I was nominally a member of the ACA, though I joined the ACC two years ago. I specifically structured The Continuum so that my co-hosts would represent as broad a cross-section of the continuing movement as possible. Fr Hart was, at the time, APCK, while Fr Kirby was and still is ACC, and Ed Pacht ACA. I also tried, without success, to get someone from the APA on board.

I will not speak for Fr Wells, as he is more than capable of representing himself. Suffice it to sayt that he, like you, is a reader of, and commenter on, this blog. He is not a co-host, and nothing that he says necessarily represents the editorial stance thereof.

That said, Fr Wells more often than not speaks as if with one voice with us. True, he may often be less than gentle in his language, but we do encourage robust dialogue here. There is too much political correctness and self-censorship in this world, and that is something we want no part of here.

You have taken this blog to task by suggesting that the message read here is one of "we are right and everyone else is wrong." Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indeed, one of the fundamental purposes for this blog´s continuing existence is to encourage and foster closer relations among the various legitimate continuing jurisdictions, as well as with Rome and Orthodoxy.

As for your comment about there being a sense of superiority here, I would also suggest you are wrong. Be careful not to confuse feeling superior with our strong commitment to what we believe as catholic Christians and our determination to defend it against all assaults.

Perhaps you are a relatively new reader. Have a look at the index of topics that we have dealt with over the years and read up on those that might be of particular interest to you. I think you will find yourself pleasantly suprised.

Also, go back and re-read this very thread. It was not meant to imply that Protestants, in general, or certain Anglo-Calvinists, in particular, are devil worshippers, but that they are unwittingly doing the devil´s work for him. A very big difference, my friend.

Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that Fr. Hart meant to say something that was not intended to cause harm, as I pointed out earlier.

What I am saying is that it is possible to preach and write the truth in love and kindness, and with the manners that my mother, and hopefully everyone's mother, taught them to use when speaking or writing to others.

I am all for proclaiming the truth that we believe honestly.

But if it is attempted in a way that is unkind, insulting, or stirs up feelings of hurt in those it is intended to help, it will do no good. People simply shut down and don't read, or don't listen to, dialogue that hurts their feelings.

I am simply suggesting that kindness goes a long way.

I am not a Calvinist, and I don't agree with Calvinism. That aside, I still respect Father Matt Kennedy as a fellow Christian. There is much that Father Matt says with which I do agree. Obviously there is much he says with which I do not agree, but I always treat him with respect and kindness. He is due with being treated that simply because he is a human being; even more so, because he is a fellow Christian.

If, as Christians, we are respectful and show hospitality and kindness, we will do more good than if we say things that hurt feelings.

I think its fine that commentators here speak what they believe to be the truth. What would it hurt to be kind while doing that? In my opinion, it would turn this blog into a good outreach tool for the Continuum if opinions were voiced with greater sensibility to kindness. As it is, I fear reading this Blog would scare many people away from even giving the Continuum a try.

If you wish to ban me for speaking what I believe to be truth in Christian love, feel free to do so.
But I cannot remain silent when I see people using words as a way of hurting one another.

You can be sure that such words cut very deep into the souls of Father Kennedy and others.

ACC Member

Fr. Robert Hart said...

You can be sure that such words cut very deep into the souls of Father Kennedy and others.

I am sorry to say, that is apparently true. Any well-worded disagreement on SFIF hurts their feelings so badly that the comment gets deleted, and the commenter finds out later (than everyone else) that he has been banned.

However, Matt Kennedy may comment here, and never be banned.

poetreader said...

"ACC member"

You've told us what we shouldn't say because of your concept of good manners. I believe in good manners too. In fact I've been criticized for being too forward in demanding good manners.

That being said, tell us how we should have said what needed to be said about the deep seriousness and very real danger in the kind of stance taken by SFIF. It's not that Fr. Kennedy "happens" to be Protestant, as if that were some kind of unavoidable genetic disease, but that he and his ilk have inavertently given aid and comfort to serious evil by tolerating it and remaining in communion with it for so long. We observe that they indeed seem to have absorbed an uncomfortably large amount of the errant thinking and practice of that environment.

Are we simply to avoid unpleasant truth we believe we see? Or are we to veil it in sugary language that won't express the enormity of it? If you don't like how it was said here, please advise us on effective ways that it could have been said.

Seriously, a major purpose of theological debate is to distinguish truth from error. To accuse someone of error (if one is right in one's accusation) is to elicit one of two responses: either a change of mind (repentance), or an open denial of truth, and therefore open exposure of the true stsate of affairs. It's our Lord who said his words would turn father against son, etc.

You've told us what not to say. What then shall we say if we are not to yield to untruth?


Anonymous said...


I believe the truth can be said kindly. I grew up in a parish that preached the orthodox catholic faith in its Anglican tradition, but never once did the clergy ever say anything unkind about any other church. Never did they say anything unkind about another cleryperson in our town, on television, or otherwise.

Never once did our clergy condemn other denominations, or other Christian traditions.

The clergy I grew up with were well-educated, and had enough good manners to preach the truth without having to attack other denominations, clergy, etc. They simply taught us the truth from the Holy Scriptures and the Cathechism, pure and simple.

They never used words like "ilk" to describe other Christians, for example, or say that other clergy or denominations were doing the work of the Devil.

They simply preached the truth, and applied it to how we should live our lives. They did not have to use others as wrong examples. They simply taught us the right examples.

We have a true and orthodox, time-tested faith given to us by Christ and the Holy Apostles. What we should be doing is teaching that faith to our people, and teaching that faith to the millions of lost souls who need Christ and that faith in their lives. We don't need to throw stones at other clergy and other denominations to teach the faith. We can teach it with kindness and love. If we teach it with kindness and love, I have no doubt our church buildings would have more people in the pews.

"You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

ACC Member

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The point was to say that their doctrine fails the test of orthodoxy. Since we are surrounded by Anglicans who succumb to the temptation of relative "orthodoxy" it is best to say so directly. I could have been very rude indeed, like St.Paul: "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings..." (I Tim 6: 3,4). In fact, I could have quoted that most rude and discourteous of men, whose words made even the prophets look polite, namely Jesus Christ.

The analogy in my title to the post works. To react always to the latest heresy, rather than having a foundation of apostolic teaching that never becomes relative in application, is to allow the enemy to lead the way. Following from a distance, even if under protest, is just another way to bring up the rear.

I prefer our way, imperfect though we most certainly are. In the Affirmation of St.Louis we declared where TEC had broken communion with us, and so no matter how much they continue along their evil road, we are true to what has been believed everywhere, always and by all, rather than confusing a mere dislike for homosexuality with the fullness of orthodoxy.

So, ACC member, I hope you keep reading; but, you may as well accept this fact (and meditate upon it first): We have far too much love in our hearts to become nice guys.

poetreader said...

We have far too much love in our hearts to become nice guys

Nice Phrase, Fr, Hart.

If I'm about to take an accidental plummet off a cliff, which would be the most loving thing to say to me:

"Have you considered all the implications of your current course of action? Might it not be time to give it some thought? It's your decision, however."



Somehow I think the latter is more helpful, more caring, and thus more loving. I could be wrong, but it seems that sometimes the direct and abrasive way is the one that willmsave lives, or souls.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

They never used words like "ilk" to describe other Christians, for example, or say that other clergy or denominations were doing the work of the Devil.

"Ilk" simply means "like" and was used mainly in Scotland for families that owned land. To say that various different groups are of a like mind is hardly derogatory.

However, the second point runs counter to scripture. Again, to quote another rude man, the Apostle Paul, writing by Divine Inspiriation: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." II Cor.11:13-15

About Matt Kennedy and his kind (is that better than "ilk"?), I do not question their sincerity, only their judgment. If I did not believe that they have persuaded themselves and each other that they are truly serving God, I would waste no time disputing details (and no doubt, to some degree they do serve God, And, Since I have described to the point of redundancy the meaning of my illustration, I expect no more seemingly willful attempts to distort it.)

Nonetheless, should we never speak of anyone the way St. Paul spoke of the Judaizers (or whichever heretics he was taking on) as some sort of principle? I prefer to treat St.Paul, other Apostles whose words are written, and our Lord Jesus, as examples of truly godly speech.

Anonymous said...

Although "ACC Member" did not mention me by name, I was the culprit in introducing the word "ilk" which s/he finds so deplorable.

In the boarding house where I took meals in my undergraduate days, I recall someone remarking on someone else's faux pas with the remark, "Now what would Emily Post say about that." Someone else shot back, "Since Emily is a well bred person, she would not say anything whatever."

In the radio talk shows I listen to as I drive around, I have noticed a certain type of caller who predictably begins, "I am a conservative but...." This is always a tip-off that some far-left type is calling in to make trouble. Yes, I know this ilk very well.